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Review: Neverball

Table of Contents

Quick Info

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Additional Notes
This game is also available for Linux! This game is free!

Summary of major issues
Potential issues with motion sickness aside, there is nothing of concern in this game.

Screenshots

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Around the maze it goes

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CHEESE IN SPACE

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Catching air in space

General Information

Genre:Sports ESRB Rating:NR - Not Rated
License:Open Source My Rating:Everyone
Played on:Martha
Available from: Neverball.org
Save System:Any level you've reached can be selected from the level menu. Thus, your progress is effectively autosaved.

Game Overview

Neverball is a pretty unique little game. While the idea of guiding something through an obstacle course isn't that new, the way you control things in this game set it apart. Instead of directly controlling your ball, you tilt the entire level and gravity takes it from there. This isn't as easy as it sounds, as the ball bounces off walls or other objects, and it can easily fall off the playing area and into the void.

Each level has a goal space and a number of coins littered around the map. Once you've collected enough coins, the goal activates, and all that's left is for you to end the level by rolling the ball to the exit. Of course, that's just a simple explanation. You'll also have to deal with various types of obstacles, such as moving platforms, different types of floors, and in some cases you'll even need to fling the ball towards another part of the level by steering it over a ramp at high speed. Additionally, each level also has a time limit, forcing you to move quickly in a game where speed is not your friend.

Personally, I don't see this game appealing to everyone, but if the description above sounds interesting to you, give it a try. After all, it is completely free.

Pros

Customize your ball
The default ball isn't very interesting to look at. However, you can change its appearance by visiting the options menu. There are a whopping 19 different designs to choose between, including marbles, the planet Earth, a melon, one of the ghosts from Pac-Man, and even a soot sprite like you see in Studio Ghibli films. Why settle for the default with choices like these?


Multiple level sets
There are seven level sets included with the game, and you can find additional level packs online if these don't provide enough of a challenge. As it is, the included levels are rated from easy to insanely difficult, so there's already a good variety to try.

Each level also maintains two different leaderboards: one lists the top three quickest completion times, while the other is based on how many coins the players collected before reaching the goal.


Challenge mode
If you really want to, you can make things more difficult by trying the challenge mode. This has you attempt the same levels as the normal mode, except this time you have a limited number of balls. If you're anywhere near as good at this game as I am, you'll never make it to the third level.


Cons

Unusual controls make for a steep learning curve
In my opinion, Neverball's biggest weakness is its unique controls. It's extremely easy to send the ball hurtling in random directions with just the slightest nudge, and once you've lost control it's nearly impossible to get it back before something else goes wrong. A lot of players will probably find it too frustrating, and simply give up before they learn to control the game.


Concerns and Issues

May cause motion sickness
Depending on the camera you're using and the way you're trying to tilt the play field, this game can make you a little dizzy. Worse, when the ball inevitably gets out of control, the game's world will likely fly around pretty fast while the camera vainly tries to keep up.